How th­ese in­spir­ing ath­letes are con­quer­ing ob­sta­cles


Strug­gles are an in­escapable part of life. If any­one can teach us about how to dust our­selves off and get back up, it’s professional ath­letes. Here, three Olympic hope­fuls share their sto­ries and how they man­aged to move on­ward and up­ward.

Who: KIRSTEN SWEETLAND, triath­lete and Red Bull brand am­bas­sador

Train­ing sched­ule: Twenty to 35 hours a week. Sweetland’s two to eight hours of daily ac­tiv­ity are di­vided into in­ter­val train­ing for swim­ming, bik­ing and run­ning, with a gym rou­tine mixed in. She takes a month off a year. Biggest strug­gle: A painful stom­ach par­a­site and bac­te­rial in­fec­tion Sweetland con­tracted by swal­low­ing con­tam­i­nated wa­ter while com­pet­ing in 2014. She was out for a year and is still on mul­ti­ple an­tibi­otics. “The in­fec­tion that I got caused neu­ro­log­i­cal changes,” she says. “It made me emo­tion­ally un­sta­ble—like I wasn’t my­self. I’ve had a lot of [set­backs,] but none like this.” Press­ing forward: “The les­son I took away from this was just how much in­ter­nal strength I have that I didn’t know was there. I now have the con­fi­dence to deal with pretty much any­thing.”

Who: ROSIE MACLENNAN, tram­polin­ist and Tide brand am­bas­sador

Train­ing sched­ule: Thirty-six to 40 hours a week. Weekly, MacLennan does nine prac­tices on the tram­po­line, two strength and con­di­tion­ing ses­sions with a trainer, two Pi­lates classes, in­ter­val train­ing, car­dio and stretch­ing. Biggest strug­gle: Ac­cept­ing her body. “I have more curves than the av­er­age tram­polin­ist and at times was thicker than a lot of them too,” says MacLennan. “That made me self-con­scious.” Press­ing forward: “My mom’s been a great sound­ing board. We had a talk and she was like, ‘Do you want to be the skin­ni­est girl on the tram­po­line, or do you want to be the best? Be­cause they don’t nec­es­sar­ily go hand in hand.’ She helped me re­frame how I look at my body and re­al­ize that be­ing pow­er­ful was in­te­gral to my sport. My thicker legs and bub­ble butt give me my ad­van­tage.”

Who: STEPHANIE LABBÉ, goal­keeper for na­tional soc­cer team and Al­ways brand am­bas­sador Train­ing sched­ule: Labbé is on the soc­cer field for two hours ev­ery day, hits the gym a few times a week, med­i­tates daily and re­ceives reg­u­lar physio and mas­sage ther­apy. Biggest strug­gle: Manag­ing men­tal stress and wor­ry­ing too much about the crit­ics. “As a goal­keeper, we’re the last line. If we make a mis­take, it al­most al­ways re­sults in a goal. Every­body no­tices, and we get a lot of crit­i­cism for that.”

Press­ing forward: “Fo­cus­ing on what oth­ers thought took up a lot of my en­ergy. I’ve had to re­ally work on that. In the past year, yoga and med­i­ta­tion have come into my life. They have brought me back to fo­cus­ing on my­self and on what I can con­trol: the ef­fort I put in, be­ing a good team­mate and per­son, and just do­ing my best re­gard­less of the re­sult.”

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